Monuments Across New York City Pay Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Annie Goldsmith
·4 mins read
Photo credit: Spencer Platt - Getty Images
Photo credit: Spencer Platt - Getty Images

From Oprah Magazine

Across the nation, Americans are mourning the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday. New Yorkers, however, have a special connection with the Brooklyn-born Supreme Court Justice and are honoring her accordingly.

Throughout the city, tributes to Ginsburg have been erected, celebrating her life and legacy. In Lower Manhattan, the famed "Fearless Girl" statue was given a lace collar, reminiscent of Ginsburg's signature jabots. The Supreme Court Justice was rarely seen in her official robes without one of the collars, which she collected. Some neckpieces even held special meanings—she had a jabot for majority opinions and one for dissents.

On Sunday, State Street Global Advisors, which originally commissioned the Fearless Girl statue in 2017, ran a full-page ad in The New York Times in Ginsburg's memory. The ad consisted of a photo of the Fearless Girl, wearing her new collar, and read, “Here’s to the original.”

Photo credit: Spencer Platt - Getty Images
Photo credit: Spencer Platt - Getty Images

Further uptown, several subway signs at 50th Street were altered to read "Ruth St." Artists Adrian Wilson and Matt Duncan said they collaborated to create the tribute, crafting vinyl stickers to transform the 50 into "RU." They sneakily put the stickers in place on Saturday.

According to Wilson and Duncan, the stickers took about five hours to create, as they wanted the color to exactly match that of the subway signs. However, the stickers were removed by Sunday evening, though it is unclear if they were taken down by the MTA or someone else.

Wilson acknowledged that this was to be expected. He told Gothamist, "Technically this is illegal but if I am charged for it, in this particular case I believe the Supreme Court will dismiss my case!"

For a more permanent tribute, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York State will honor Ginsburg with a statue in Brooklyn, her birthplace. The Governor is currently putting together a commission to select an artist and exact location for the new work.

"While the family of New York mourns Justice Ginsburg's death, we remember proudly that she started her incredible journey right here in Brooklyn," Cuomo said in a statement over the weekend. "Her legacy will live on in the progress she created for our society, and this statue will serve as a physical reminder of her many contributions to the America we know today and as an inspiration for those who will continue to build on her immense body of work for generations to come."

It was also recently announced that the Brooklyn Municipal Building will be renamed after the late Justice. Two years ago, Borough President Eric Adams started a petition to name the building after Ginsburg, and now, Mayor Bill De Blasio will implement the change.

"I take heart in knowing that young girls and boys who pass by the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Brooklyn Municipal Building will know her name, learn from her example, and pick up the baton to run their own relay toward a more just, equitable, and fair America," Adams wrote. "All of us who looked up to her are grateful she is finally getting the recognition she deserves."

In the meantime, on September 19, landmarks throughout New York were lit blue as a tribute to Ginsburg. Blue is both the color of justice and, fittingly, was Ginsburg's favorite color.

Young people also joined in, offering their own acknowledgements. Outside James Madison High School, Ginsburg's alma mater, students and passersby left notes, drawings, and small gifts, honoring the late Justice. Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even stopped by the memorial on Sunday night to pay their respects.

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